“People’s ignorance has prevented them from developing a more open-minded perspective about those who may differ from them.”
Sadly, we, as a nation, lack a general understanding of Islam and Muslim culture. Even as millions of Muslim people live among us, we still view them as ‘the other’ because of stereotypes and generalizations we have overheard and thus employed in our own belief systems.
The study of Islam is slowly making its way into many high school and college classrooms to combat these generalizations so deeply rooted in our society, but is that enough? Will that undo the power of hateful comments and acts targeted towards Muslim Americans?
People have a fear of Islam because people fear what they don’t understand. People’s ignorance has prevented them from developing a more open-minded perspective about those who may differ from them.
I absolutely think there is prejudice and discrimination against Muslims in America. We are led by a president who has outwardly expressed a disdain for the nation of Islam and tried to implement a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, thus perpetuating the notion that it is okay to marginalize Muslim people and invalidate their beliefs.
I see this every time I go through security at the airport when a woman wearing a Hijab is subjected to additional screening while I’m told I can leave my shoes on when I walk through the metal detector. There is ABSOLUTELY a prejudice against Muslim people in our country.
Immediately after 9/11, stereotypes regarding Islam and those who practiced it developed rapidly. As we approach the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I am noticing some progress in eliminating those stereotypes but there is still an awfully long way to go.
My hope is that in the future we can learn to do better. We can become educated and learn how to not only coexist but also support each other. We can learn to speak up when we see someone being inappropriately harassed. We can teach our children and their children to practice acceptance and celebration, not merely tolerance.